Arteris IP and Magillem recently tied the knot, creating a merger of Network-on-Chip (NoC) and related Intellectual Property (IP) with a platform known for IP-XACT based SoC integration and related support. This is interesting to me because I’m familiar with products and people in both companies. I talked to Kurt Shuler, vice president of marketing to understand the rationale behind the acquisition.
The value Arteris IP provides
Kurt put the top-level reasoning to me this way. First, Arteris IP has always been about making it easier to build systems-on-chip (SoCs). Integrating IPs you acquired from various providers, together with your own IP, to produce an SoC that will deliver top-notch performance, Quality of Service (QoS), power, safety and so on. In fact, as he said (and I agree), the on-chip interconnect provides the “knobs and dials” for engineers to define the architecture of a SoC. You put a lot of IP that anyone can buy around that interconnect, and you make it yours, partly through your special sauce and partly through how you optimize your architecture using your unique interconnect configuration. Making this possible, each IP interfaces to the bus through a network interface unit (NIU) adapter, so that all IPs are speaking a common language on the bus.
The value Magillem provides
Magillem has a well-related and complementary goal. They also aim to make it easy for you to build your SoC. But they are doing it at a data management level. You acquire all these IPs from multiple sources. Each has Register Transfer Level (RTL) source files, SystemC models, register maps, bus interfaces, controls and more. Together with all the configurability offered by most IPs. This could create a nightmare for an integrator if IP vendors couldn’t agree on a standard way to package all that information. Fortunately, all the main providers already have agreed on the IP-XACT standard. This means that at the integration level when you’re connecting IPs and busses together, reconfiguring them and so on, in definition of packaging information, they also all speak the same language. Sounds familiar?
These capabilities have existed since the early days of both companies. Over the years they have acquired many joint customers. Some using Arteris and Magillem together, some using one or the other solution as best meets their immediate needs. In either case, they’re looking for low-friction development solutions in their interconnect design and/or in SoC assembly. Avoiding complex rework in multi-tier interconnects or in importing and updating IP with incompatible interfaces.
An obvious synergy
There is obvious synergy between these goals. Why not further reduce friction by having the NoC layer and the data management layer work hand-in-hand? Import a new rev. of an IP, and the NoC is ready to reconfigure against that new package. A new derivative can be created with some additional IPs and some removed. The NoC can easily sync up with that new configuration. Or optimize the NoC to meet a QoS goal and the corresponding IPs can automatically reconfigure.
Kurt tells me they will continue to support the standalone Magillem and Arteris IP products. They have already started engineering and architectural work to take advantage of the technical synergies between the two product lines. With so many top-tier shared customers, I expect we’ll start to see significant advantages and innovations in their joint capabilities soon.
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